Today on 30th December’12, people of Khaling Khurd village, Taluka Bhiwandi were attacked by the goons under the leadership of a local politician. These people had gathered in front of the ration shop and were insisting that they be given ration as per Maharashtra Government rules i.e. 35 Kg. and 15 Kg. Wheat and Rice respectively for Yellow and Saffron card holders respectively.
It should be noted that on 10th December, more than 1000 people from about 45 villages of Bhiwandi Taluka had demonstrated in front of the Bhiwandi Tehesildar office. They had submitted their memorandum to Tehesildar. The memorandum had highlighted the plight of Yellow & Saffron ration card holders. They do not get ration as per government rules, they get extremely poor quality ration, they are threatened by ration shop owners, government officials also do not respond to their complaints were some of the complaints mentioned in the memorandum. Tehesildar had promised to respond to all their complaints and had also promised that he would ensure surprise visit of his Rationing Inspectors and in some areas would also distribute ration in presence of his officials. On 29th December he had sent his rationing officer to Khalinga Khurd. More than 50 village women with their ration cards were also present. All of them including the Rationing inspector waited for full day but the ration shop owner did not turn up though his shop was open. So today the villagers again gathered and along with Lok Raj Sangathan activists went to the ration shop. They also informed officials of Tehesildar office about their visit and also told him that the ration shop owner is refusing to give receipt. The official told them to demand for the receipt. He also promised that he would speak with the ration shop owner.
But as the villagers were waiting peacefully near the ration shop, suddenly ration shop owner along with a few goondas lead by a powerful local politician pounced on them and started beating the activists and the villagers. They also started abusing and threatening the villagers. But the brave activists which included two brave women activists and the villagers refused to cow down. They all went to Palakane police chowki, about 10 Kms. away and registered their complaint.
It is well known that while the Food Corporation go-downs are overflowing and lacs of tons of grain is rotting in the open, Central and State governments are refusing to supply grain to all the ration card holders. As per Maharashtra Government’s own admission less than 50% quota is released to ration shops. It is also well known that whatever quota is released does not reach the beneficiaries. Local politicians and goondas use all the means to deprive people even of this meager quantity and instead divert it to black market. But as the prices of food items and grains have sharply risen, dependence of people on ration shops have increased further and people have started organizing and demanding their rights. Right to food is part of Right to life as per Supreme Courts judgment. This fight of people is thus a struggle in defense of their Right to Life and hence deserves support of all justice loving people.
Padagha Committee of LRS